Friday, 23 March 2012


ECOWAS has urged police chiefs in Member States to develop regional strategies and synergy in tackling the myriad organized transnational crimes confronting West Africa, especially illegal circulation of weapons, piracy and terrorism.

Welcoming participants to the opening of a three-day meeting of Technical Sub-Committees of the West Africa Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO) in Lome, Togo on Wednesday, 21st March 2012, Lt-Col. Abdulrahaman Dieng, Head of the ECOWAS Regional Security Division, said the conflict in Libya has unleashed serious security problems with dire consequences on peace, stability and economic development of the region.

Speaking on behalf of Major General Charles Okae, Director, Peacekeeping and Regional Security, Col. Dieng said the region’s previously uninhabited Sahelian belt had become a centre of conflict with the activities of separatist AZAWAD movement in northern Mali, Al-Qaeda of Islamic Maghreb and Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, posing serious security challenges requiring urgent attention.

Also of serious security concern, he said, are the region’s porous borders and the attendant vehicle thefts, drug and human trafficking as well as corruption, bad governance and poor management of human and natural resources.

Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea should also engage the attention of the regional police chiefs, said Col. Dieng, who reaffirmed the commitment of ECOWAS to take all necessary measures, including support for police and other security agencies of Member States in the collective effort at addressing the regional security challenges.

He noted that the meeting is the first under Cote d’Ivoire as the new Chair of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government and with a new management team at the Commission led by His Excellency, President Kadre Desire Ouedraogo.

INTERPOL Representative, Mr. Juan Carlos Antoniassi, also pledged his organization’s continued collaboration with stakeholders towards making the region safe and stable.

He called for the availability of more human and financial resources as well as adequate training of police personnel and follow-up actions to deal with transnational crimes not just in West Africa, but Africa as a whole.

Mr. Antoniassi also recommended that all segments of the police force and not just the leadership should be sensitized for active involvement in the regional anti-crime operations.

Declaring the meeting open, the Director General of Togo’s National Police, Col. Mompion Mateindou, challenged the regional police chiefs to come up with appropriate responses to the regional security threats, including cyber crimes, adding that the task of providing safe economic environment and ensuring regional stability called for concerted efforts since no country can do it alone.

In their recommendations to higher authorities, he said the technical sub-committees should take into account the situation in each Member State with a view to developing a regional framework on the way forward.

The meeting, the first of two preparatory meetings before the WAPCCO General Assembly, is being attended by representatives of ECOWAS Member States and officials of the ECOWAS Commission.

Participants are discussing challenges of policing in West Africa, including Crime Trends, Joint or Simultaneous Police Operations and Joint Operations on Drug, as well as implementation of recommendations of the INTERPOL international and regional meetings by West African countries.

The outcome of the meeting will feed into the second preparatory meeting of the sub-technical committees ahead of the WAPCCO Annual General Assembly.

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